Una's Blog

24
Jan

Una’s little world 13. Judgement

 

 

 

 

by Una Hearne.

Beth had two goals for the year. She set them the day she was diagnosed with cancer and told that her full time job for the year would be treatment. Her goals were: 1) Beat cancer 2) Spend as much time as possible with her sister who was getting married in September. They had always shared everything and Beth was not going to miss out on this.

In between Chemo days, when Beth was well enough, she and her sister spent days planning, discussing and giggling. They went dress and shoe shopping and drank champagne. Beth worked with her doctors to make sure she would have a full month free of treatments in September. She rested for a full two weeks before the wedding and had two weeks to recover afterwards. On the day itself, wearing a good wig and professional make up, Beth looked as good as she ever had. Her confidence soared and she had the time of her life. There was much love, laughter and dancing. Beth felt like herself again, part of the real world, normal. For one precious day she forgot all about cancer.

I overheard some comments made behind her back. People who may not have known Beth very well, but they knew she had cancer.

“She hasn’t been in work since January, but I see she’s well enough to come out and dance all night!”

“Can’t be all that bad, she looks perfectly healthy to me!”

“She’s probably able to work alright, but sure if you’ve a good excuse… I’d do it too! Must be great to stay at home and do nothing all day.”

“I think she’s making it up, just looking for attention. She’s that kind, I’ve heard.”

Shocked? Horrified even? You would never dream of saying anything like that about someone with cancer would you? Neither would I. It’s ok, I made Beth’s story up.

And yet…

Every one of those poisonous comments (and worse) has been said about, and to, me – and most other people with invisible or ‘unproven’ illnesses. Because there is no blood test for ME/CFS, many people still don’t believe it is real and physical. And it’s not just us, think of the number of physical and mental illnesses with no biological test to prove their existence. And no visible clues. Millions and millions of us.

So I have a question for everyone out there who still chooses to believe we are imagining our illness, looking for attention or are malingerers: Could you hold off your judgement and conviction, at least until there is proof, either way?

Even criminals get the benefit of the doubt.

 

 

 

 

 

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